NEW YORK-Foot Locker has stepped up its efforts to find a new agency to handle its estimated $40 million ad account by contacting at least five shops, sources said.
Boston's Arnold Communications and four New York agencies-Deutsch, Merkley Newman Harty, Cliff Freeman and Partners and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners-have all met or scheduled meetings with the athletic footwear chain, said sources. The shops either declined comment or could not be reached.
Sources have also said that Jack Aneser, senior vice president of marketing for Woolworth's Athletic Group, who had been handling the "resource assessment" for the past few months, was no longer the point man in the agency search.
Toby Wyman, advertising manager, is now overseeing the review, sources said. Neither Aneser nor Wyman returned calls seeking comment.
The Woolworth Athletic Group consists of Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker. Sources said the Champs Sports retail chain has been removed from the Athletic Group and is not a part of current discussions.
Agency meetings come on the heels of the recent resignation of the account by Bates USA here and its fellow Cordiant company, Zenith Media, also in New York. Bates' resignation forced Foot Locker to end the slow-moving resource assessment and more actively start looking for a new agency.
The review also comes as Woolworth liquidates its general merchandise business, converting about 100 sites into Foot Locker and Champs stores. Foot Locker is also facing stiff competition from athletic superstores such as Niketown. -with staff reports